French leader to open unusual state visit to US

4:20 PM, Feb 10, 2014   |    comments
Francois Hollande
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WASHINGTON (AP) - An ocean away from his romantic troubles, French President Francois Hollande is opening his state visit to the U.S. by joining President Barack Obama for a tour of Thomas Jefferson's picturesque estate.

The visit to Monticello is designed to showcase enduring U.S. ties with France, its oldest ally. Hollande is not being accompanied by a first lady on his trip.

Jefferson was an early U.S. envoy to France and is honored with a statue in France. Monday marks the first time a sitting president has visited Monticello with a current foreign head of state.

After returning to Washington in the evening, Hollande will be welcomed Tuesday at an official arrival ceremony. Obama and Hollande will hold a joint news conference before a state dinner feting the French president.

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